Poneese, who also taught at the UWO-affiliated Huron University College, said in the video that her employer's vaccination mandate posed an ethical dilemma. "My employer has just mandated that I must get a vaccine for COVID-19. If I want to keep working at my job as a professor, I have to take this vaccine," she elaborated. Ponesse added that the university has ordered her to get the shot "immediately or not report for work."
"My school employs me to be an authority on the subject of ethics … [and] I'm here to tell you that it's ethically wrong to coerce someone to take a vaccine. If it happens to you, you don't have to do it," Ponesse said. She added in the video that people's vaccination status are their own businesses alone and no one had the right to demand that information.
Ponesse also brought up safety issues surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines, citing medical journals she read and her colleagues in the university she talked to. "There are questions about how well they work, [and] nobody's promising that I won't get … or transmit [COVID-19] if I get the vaccine, she said. The ethics professor also clarified that she has taken other vaccines in the past of her own volition.
Ponesse continued: "Ultimately, none of that matters to me, because I am a professor of ethics and … a Canadian. I'm entitled to make choices about what does and what does not enter my body regardless of my reasons. If I'm allowed back into my university, it's my job to teach my students that this is wrong. [It] is ethically wrong to impose an experimental medical procedure as a condition of employment."
Despite her points, the professor informed everyone of her eventual fate. "I am facing imminent dismissal after 20 years on the job, because I will not submit to having an experimental vaccine injected into my body," Ponesse said before breaking down in tears. The video ended by confirming her Sept. 7 dismissal.
Huron spokesman Drew Davidson refused to answer specific questions over Ponesse's employment status. He told CTV News: "While I can't comment on individual HR matters, I can confirm to you at this time [that] no one at Huron has been dismissed as a result of this policy." Davidson added that anyone who has not submitted proof of vaccination by Sept. 7 would not be allowed on campus.
Both UWO and Huron imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students, employees and visitors. Those who refuse the vaccination would be required to present two negative COVID-19 antigen tests on a weekly basis. The two institutions permitted exemptions for medical reasons, religious reasons and others indicated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, those awaiting a decision for these accommodations were still required to undergo COVID-19 testing.
The two universities also implemented stringent COVID-19 testing guidelines for unvaccinated individuals. They mandated that the tests be separated by a minimum of 72 hours if done on campus. Only pharmacists or providers accredited by the universities were allowed to conduct off-campus testing, with the results to be submitted directly to them. Self-administered antigen tests were not allowed, the rules stated.
Furthermore, the UWO and Huron policies were to be effective from Sept. 7, 2021 until Sept. 7 of the following year. Both universities said they will review the policies "on a regular basis" to ensure that the measures "remain appropriate in consideration of the circumstances and any recommendation … by the [Ontario] provincial government and public health officials."
UWO and Huron, both in Canada, were not the only universities that mandated students and faculty members to get injected with the COVID-19 vaccine. Many educational institutions in the U.S. also made COVID-19 shots compulsory. In fact, more than 580 American colleges and universities required the vaccine as a prerequisite for entering campuses.
Indiana University (IU) was among the colleges that made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory. Its website said all IU students, faculty and staff must be "fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption" before they are allowed to return to school grounds. The university said the vaccine mandate "will allow ... [the lifting of] most restrictions on masking and physical distancing."
IU allowed a few exemptions to vaccinations – including religious, ethical and medical exemptions. For medical reasons, the university required individuals to provide documentation that they are indeed allergic to COVID-19 vaccines or their ingredients. IU students who are enrolled in a 100 percent online program with no on-campus component were also allowed to seek an exemption. (Related: Indiana University students file a lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine mandate.)
Rutgers University was another institution that required students to be injected with the COVID-19 vaccines. Back in March 2021, it announced that students who are enrolled for the 2021 fall semester must get vaccinated. Rutgers Executive Vice President Antonio Calcado strongly urged faculty and staff members to get vaccinated likewise.
The university said students may request a vaccination exemption for medical or religious reasons. However, Rutgers's vaccine mandate did not apply to students enrolled in fully remote online degree programs. Those participating in continuing education programs with solely online classes were not included in the mandate, the university added. (Related: Rutgers students protest mandatory vaccination rule.)
MedicalTyranny.com has more articles about universities requiring students and faculty members to get the COVID-19 vaccine.